Grand Coalition ponder ‘uncivilised’ means to get draft constitution

The Grand Coalition on the Constitution has warned that it will use other means to push government to release the Draft Constitution since civilised means of dialogue have been frustrated and ignored.

And the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) has charged that government’s statement that the Draft Constitution was not scheduled to be tabled before cabinet was highly provocative.

Grand Coalition spokesperson MacDonald Chipenzi told the Daily Nation yesterday that whether Government liked it or not, Zambians would use other means to ‘smoke’ out the draft Constitution from State House because the document did not belong to the ruling party.

Mr Chipenzi said Zambians were determined to have a new Constitution enacted before the 2016 general elections and that since government had adopted an antagonistic and acrimonious stance over the constitution making process, it had become imperative that other methods should be employed to compel government to listen.

He said the Grand Coalition had given government enough time to listen to the demands of the Zambians but that it was disappointing that the PF leadership had refused to respect the demands of citizens.

Mr Chipenzi explained that the coalition had given government a window to reflect on its position over the constitution making process and that it had become clear that government had abandoned the process for nothing but selfish political ambitions.

He said the Grand Coalition was about to complete creating structures at both provincial and district levels and that soon the coalition would be rolling out its activities that would compel government to release the draft constitution.

“We caution government that the demand for the release of the draft constitution will not die and since our leaders have refused civilised means of dialogue, let them know that we are going to use other means to smoke the draft constitution out of State House and the Ministry of Justice.  We are determined to have the new constitution and the PF government will one day wake up just to discover that Zambians have a constitution they have always wanted,” Mr Chipenzi said.

And YALI president Andrew Ntewewe said the statement by government that cabinet had not scheduled  the draft constitution to discuss the contents of the Draft Constitution was not only provocative but meant to incite Zambians so that they could revolt.

He warned that Zambians would be forced to resort to civil disobedience to make the Patriotic Front leadership realise that the people were resolved to have a new Constitution enacted.

Mr Ntewewe said it was disappointing that after colossal sums of money had been spent, government had decided to abandon the constitution making process to serve their own selfish interests.

He said Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba pledged that the draft constitution would soon be tabled before cabinet for discussion before releasing it to the general public when he addressed the Southern Africa Center for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD).

Mr Ntewewe said it was a deliberate ploy by the PF government to frustrate the constitution making process so that Zambians could give up on their demands but warned that the approach the PF leadership had taken would politically boomerang.

“Zambians are passionate about giving themselves a new and people driven constitution and keeping the document at State House or the Ministry of Justice so that it could gather dust will not help the PF politically.

This government should not trivialize the constitution making process and it is being too provocative to arrogantly say that cabinet has no agenda to discuss the draft constitution,” Mr Ntewewe said.

He said his organisation had proposed a master plan for government because it realised that there had been an impasse on the process and that there was need to suggest the way forward.

Mr Ntewewe said since government had rejected dialogue, citizens would chose civil disobedience as a means of communicating to government on the urgent need to release the draft constitution and provide a clear road map and legal framework for the process.